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from the Field

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August 21, 2016
Perhaps a Brief Respite
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
With daylight slowly diminishing, the sun perceptibly getting lower in the sky, shadows getting longer, summer crops and weeds showing their age, and the upcoming lows in the 50s, thoughts are beginning to meander towards fall. Today, we're still in August in the heat and humidity of summer, but with changing seasons on the distant horizon the scramble to collect as much sunlight and photosynthesize it into edible food is palpable. We're busy harvesting and securing long-season crops. Onions were just completed, potatoes are perhaps halfway finished, and all of the winter squash except for butternut has been stowed. We're busy putting fields to sleep for the winter by mowing and plowing spring and summer crops and sowing mixes of cover crops to protect and gather up nutrients from the soil before winter. Cover crops are an essential part of an organic produce farm to replenish soil health, increase organic matter, add nitrogen, and provide pollinator habitat. We've already sowed a buckwheat and daikon radish mix that is up and growing. We're hoping tonight's rain event triggers the growth of the buckwheat, daikon, crimson clover, and oat mix that we sowed over a large part of the farm on Friday. If the seeds germinate and the cover crop successfully grows, that part of the farm can be removed from most of our thoughts until the spring.
Future farmer Gabe monitors the potatoes as they roll out of our spinning root washer, making sure they correctly end up in the clean bin.
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